HBO Stories July 6

AAPL: 142.73

-1.36

Hulu is gaining HBO as a new channel add-on for $14.99/month for subscribers starting today. The new HBO add-on is available for Hulu subscribers with any subscription plan and will unlock live and on-demand movies and TV shows.

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HBO Stories April 5

AAPL: 144.02

-0.75

Sling TV announced today that it will be begin offering Showtime as an add-on channel for subscribers. The monthly rate when bundled with Sling TV’s live video streaming service is competitive to Showtime’s standalone option. While Sling TV is expanding its channel lineup, AT&T is using free access to HBO to promote its new unlimited data plans.

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HBO Stories November 6, 2015

AAPL: 121.06

0.14

While the new fourth-generation Apple TV advances Apple’s entertainment box in many areas including universal search, Siri  input and a whole App Store for the first time, much of week one with Apple TV 4 has been about what you lose when moving from Apple TV 2 or 3.

The list is uncomfortably packed for a device that had three years to advance since its predecessor hit the market: missing Bluetooth keyboard and iPhone/iPad Remote app support for easier text input, Apple Watch’s built-in Remote app doesn’t recognize it yet, the Podcasts app hasn’t moved over, and the Photos app is exactly the same (no iCloud Photo Library) despite the newer iCloud Music Library feature making the cut for Apple Music.

There’s also the oddity of each channel being pre-installed on older Apple TVs while new Apple TVs ship with only iTunes, Music, and Photos apps installed. If I were gifting a family member a new Apple TV — something I’m sure will be popular during the holidays — I’d prefer essential channels like Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, and HBO to come pre-installed, albeit optionally deletable, to make the experience friendlier. There’s also the lack of one universal sign-in process between multiple channels so that’s a big setup challenge. I had hoped Apple would tackle this with the new box but instead its just like the prior Apple TV experience.

That being said, my biggest critique and one I haven’t seen acknowledged nearly enough this week is the drop in usability of popular video apps, like the ones that used to be pre-installed on the third-gen Apple TV as ‘channels’. Simpler, list-focused versions of apps like Netflix and Hulu were just easier to use than current versions on the new Apple TV… expand full story

HBO Stories October 1, 2015

AAPL: 109.58

-0.72

HBO Now updated with iOS 9’s picture-in-picture iPad feature

One of iOS 9’s most useful features on modern iPads is the ability to playback videos from the Home screen or other apps using picture-in-picture. Video services have to opt-in to supporting PIP, though, so it means App Store apps must be updated before the feature works.

HBO has done just that with their iOS 9 update for iPad, supporting picture-in-picture when you leave the HBO Now app while you’re watching a movie or TV show. The feature is only mentioned in the update for the standalone HBO Now service, however, so the HBO Go version which requires a cable subscription may not support it.

HBO Stories July 13, 2015

While Apple’s rumored Web TV service is expected to launch with new hardware and software later this year, Comcast has shown its cards on what it describes as an “experiment” to offer live TV streaming to its Internet subscribers without cable packages. Stream, a $15/month Xfinity add-on, will allow Comcast Internet subscribers to view live and on-demand streaming television from “about a dozen networks” including HBO and other major broadcast networks. expand full story

HBO Stories June 25, 2015

HBO Now earned the most revenue of any iOS app last month following free trial period

HBO Now, the standalone subscription service for the premium network, appears to be a hit with iOS users, says new data from analytics service App Annie.

After launching on Apple TV and the App Store for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch in early April with a 1-month free trial, the new report says the standalone service’s app “debuted at #1 on our Worldwide May iOS revenue charts” showing that the free trial converted users to paid customers.

A month after the trial ended for day one subscribers, App Annie says HBO Now sat at “#2 overall daily grossing rank in the United States” according to its data. Showtime is planning a similar standalone service that will launch next month.

It’s also interesting to see where Spotify and Beats Music sit on App Annie’s chart ahead of Apple Music’s launch on Tuesday. Apple Music will offer a 3-month free trial period for users and will be pre-installed, but Beats Music users should convert to Apple Music customers and the company certainly hopes to steal customers from Spotify. HBO Now’s performance is also good news for the revenue outlook of Apple’s rumored web TV service as cord cutters are clearly willing to pay for content.

HBO Now is available on the App Store for $14.99/month.

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